Society for the Study of Evolution
Promotion of the study of organic evolution.
The R.A. Fisher Prize
The R. A. Fisher Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution for an outstanding Ph.D. dissertation paper published in the journal Evolution during a given calendar year.
This prize pays tribute to one of the most distinguished evolutionists of the 20th Century, Sir Ronald Fisher, who with JBS Haldane and Sewall Wright, developed theoretical population genetics and established its central position within evolutionary biology. Fisher’s interests ranged widely, but placed particular emphasis on the dynamics of mutation and selection and how these contribute to adaptation.
This year’s Fisher Prize is awarded to Dr. William Soto for his paper: W. Soto, E. B. Punke, and M. K. Nishiguchi. 2012. Evolutionary perspectives in a mutualism of sepiolid squid and bioluminescent bacteria: combined usage of microbial experimental evolution and temporal population genetics. Evolution 66(5): 1308-1321.
Soto and co-authors studied the fascinating symbiosis between bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri) and their host squid (Euprymna spp.), in which the light produced by the bacteria is thought to provide counter-illumination that conceals the squid at night, while the bacteria benefit from living in the host’s nutrient-rich light organ. Specifically, Soto et al. examined the competitive dominance of bacteria on their native host species relative to other bacterial strains from foreign species. Using an experimental evolution approach, a V. fischeri strain isolated from a Hawaiian squid, Euprymna scolopes, was propagated for ~500 generations in a novel host species from Australia, E. tasmanica. By the end, the evolved bacteria exhibited higher fitness relative to the ancestral strain based on competitive colonization assays in the novel host. The authors also characterized genetic variation among natural V. fischeri strains isolated from the Australian squid hosts. They found extensive diversity even at a single locus in a single host population, which appears consistent with the movement of the bacteria between species over larger spatial and longer temporal scales. Soto et al. show that a ‘symbiosis’ between experimental and comparative evolutionary approaches can shed new light on interspecific interactions.
The R. A. Fisher Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution for an outstanding Ph.D. dissertation paper published in the journal Evolution during a given calendar year. The award comes with a $1000 honorarium.
Eligibility -- To be eligible for consideration, a manuscript must be based on graduate work of the primary author.
Nominations/Application -- Authors of eligible manuscripts may initiate a nomination upon acceptance of their manuscripts for publication. Nominations must include the final version of the manuscript, dissertation completion date, and a supporting letter from the Ph.D. supervisor or other individual familiar with the work. If the candidate is not the sole author of the paper, the supporting letter should identify the candidate’s role in completing the research and writing the paper. Nominations for manuscripts published in 2013 will be accepted throughout the year but must arrive no later than January 31, 2014. The complete nomination should be submitted electronically to the SSE Secretary (John Kelly) at firstname.lastname@example.org.Award -- The Fisher Prize is accompanied by a check for U.S. $1000, and will be awarded at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution. The recipient is invited to attend the annual meeting to receive the award. To facilitate attendance, the SSE provides funds to cover the costs of conference registration, accommodation during the conference, and expenses for travel to and from the conference. The recipient will be notified of the award by late March 2014.